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Please help with dark ash brown- black hair that is going white!

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I don't know what to do any more to cover those grays and whites in my mid 40's.

I have been doing the one-step dark color from a box for well over a decade and it was fine.
But with the multiplying white hairs I am fighting the high contrast between the new growth skunk line and the colored hair way too often with this simple method.
I also found that in my mid 40's, I need color that is a bit softer, not too pigmented as it usually comes in the box.
The question is "softer what"?

In the past, I have tried gong several steps lighter- spilling into brown territory.
50 shades of brown whether one-step color or with highlights.

As soon as I do this, my olive complexion with actual green undertones turns awfully washed out and sallow.
Anything remotely warm turns brass on me which I wouldn't mind if it didn't make my complexion look awful.

My skin is literally begging for 100% cool tones and not a trace of warmth.

I even tried to do some very light platinum highlights directly on top of my natural, un-colored base to blend in my whites and grays (some are salt and pepper). It didn't work out.

When the base is uncolored, I look faded and simply older - even though the cool tone naturally fits my complexion.
Never mind so many white hairs go so stray and unruly, I felt like a witch. 

So what should I do?
I also want to find an option that will not make me a slave to the hair salon.

Right now I am medium-dark brown with what were supposed to be ash blonde highlights but after a  few weeks it turned brassy. My skin looks green and I look blah.

I want my deep dark ash back (aka "I want my youth back!) - but whatever comes from a box is too pigmented .
Again I will fight the skunk line and it may come out too harsh for my 40's face anyway.

Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!
I can provide pictures. 

Thank you so much!

PS: For now I bought a anti-brass shampoo but I don't have much hopes this will remedy the problem. I simply look bad with anything brown/warm.

Topic starter Posted : December 31, 2018 2:43 am
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You need to add either blue or green (or something in between) to make it more ash toned again. Anti-brass shampoo is most often for blonde hair and so it's purple to tone yellow, red tones need green and orange tones need blue. You can get some blue shampoo, but I don't know any brands. Instead get some directions or similar in blue and green and play around with adding small amounts (start with literally a smear and use a little more each time until you find the sweet spot) to conditioner and using that after you wash your hair. Leave it for about half an hour if you can.

The best way to determine if you need a blue or a green, take a photo of your hair, in daylight preferably, and then put it through a filter on image software that inverts the colour. Whatever colour you see will be the one you need to use. It won't be exact, but it'll be somewhere on the scale of blue to green.

There's not a lot else you can do other than gradually go lighter until you're comfortable with it and continually tone it as it turns brassy.

Posted : December 31, 2018 5:46 am
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I really appreciate your answer!

I tried purple shampoo for anti-brass and it's not doing a thing.

Many hairs that were lighted in the coloring process now have a brass/orange tint that give an overall unnatural, clumsy look to my complexion.

I went lighter based on the rule "go lighter as you age", but it was the wrong type of "lighter". Too warm.

I think I need to request at the salon to have a soft black or very ashy dark brown reapplied all over to get rid of the current brass.

No amount of shampoo will deal with this warm color on my head which looks ghastly against my ashy-olive green skin undertones. I literally look like the Hulk with this warm brass and blonde highlights.

I never thought hair color would be so complicated - all because of skin tone.

The rule "go lighter as you age" doesn't apply to everyone  because for some, going lighter means going from cool black or natural ash brown to various shades of browns that invariably turn warm/brassy.
And while this may mean the look is softer, with less contrast and better, in theory, for a more mature face -  it can still look bad against the skin due to color/undertone mismatch.

A good example would be Elizabeth Taylor trying to go medium warm brown (pic attached).
A major no-no for people with her complexion.
Their hair doesn't have many options - it must be either black, charcoal (faded/soft black), gray, salt-pepper or pure white. The cool black-white continuum - no warms in between. 

I am afraid this is my fate too.

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 2:17 am
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PS: Although Elizabeth Taylor did not look good with brown hair compared to her cool black/ash normal look - she was still OK compared to what brown does to me.
I literally turn green when I do warm hair. She didn't. It just didn't look great on her. 

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 2:20 am
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I don't agree at all about Joan Collins not looking good with that colour hair. But that's beside the point. Olive toned skin can look amazing with warm toned hair, but not so well done, untoned (or toning that has faded) bleached hair will look bad on most people. A well done cinnamon tone can look stunning on an olive skin. If anything, Joan's hair could do with a little more orange, but the period that photo was taken it wasn't fashionable to have any kind of copper tones really. Sometimes it's more about the way you see it. I'm told I suit purple by some, but I hate it against my skin and I'm never that keen on it on other people a lot of the time. I also think I look sallow and sick when I have a tan, but others say it's not true. Maybe it's partly your perception. That's fine, if you don't like it, you don't like it.

Anyway, as I said, you need blue or green, NOT purple and that's why the anti brass shampoo did nothing. It's made for BLONDE hair, nothing darker. It tones yellow, NOT orange/red. Green or blue will make your hair look darker in the process of making it more ash, so it's the best, least damaging path to get what you want.

Posted : January 4, 2019 2:39 am
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This was about ET, not Joan Collins.

JC DOES look good with warm, brown hair.
ET does not - at least she's far from being at her best. She's the epitome of "never-stray-from-cool-tones".

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 2:51 am
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Here is a picture I took in electric light - which makes the gray/white in the growing roots look almost inexistent. In natural light, the gray and white is very striking.

But the picture gives a good idea about my natural ashy/cool hair against the ugly brass I get when I try to go brown with highlights. 

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 3:11 am
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These are my grown out roots (untreated in any way) in natural daylight.
If I leave it as is, it ages me way more than my current face deserves at 46 ๐Ÿ™‚
It's completely grannish.
So I 've got to do some kind of coloring but I don't know what.

Too dark and ashy - and it's too black and harsh for age (though the cool hue fits my skin tone)
One step towards brown and it invariably turns warm and brassy - and I turn green.

I have no idea how to obtain a very soft brown-black that would be cool but also not too pigmented or harsh and that would never turn brass up on me. 

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 3:31 am
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I apologise, I miss read, but I still really strongly disagree with Elizabeth Taylor looking bad with that hair! They both look amazing. ET maybe even better. I partly thought you had said JC because ET looks so good in that photo! I stand by what I said ๐Ÿ™‚ Although, I don't think either of them really have olive skin anyway. They both always looked on the cool/pinkish or neutral shades to me. Regardless, there are plenty of olive toned people with different shades of red hair naturally and there's a red/copper shade for everyone. If you don't like it on you, that's fair enough, but it isn't true that it doesn't suit olive skin, but what you have maybe doesn't suit you. In electric light it doesn't look great, but as the natural light is dominated by your natural hair I can't comment on it really, yellow light makes most skin look worse, but especially olive toned. For what it's worth, your natural hair looks amazing against your skin tone. You're lucky. I understand not wanting to go grey though.

Nothing will ever not turn brassy if you have a lot of red in your hair because ALL dye fade. Red makes the dark tones in hair, so most people with dark hair have a lot of red. I'm a rare exception, I have cool toned dark brown hair naturally which, funnily enough, looks olive green in some lights (not that it sees the light of day often as I haven't stopped dying it for over 30 years!) and it has little red. Even for me, if I'm going towards dark brown, and you have any red in your hair it's always going to have a touch of orange unless you tone it. With blue or green depending how much orange or red toned it is. Use a dye in the colour you like and then use the green or blue toner you can make to tone it to an ash if it isn't already, and then use it periodically (or even every wash if you add it to your normal conditioner) to keep it toned.

Posted : January 4, 2019 5:56 am
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Thank you, Janine! It's only very recently that I started to understand the mechanics of hair color.
For example, I didn't know that all lightened dark hair color tends to get brassy.
I also thought that  you could simply get platinum/ashy blond by bleaching hair in one step - even the darkest - as long as you leave the bleach on long enough.

I also thought that that brassy/caramel color was a choice rather than something almost every lightened brunette defaults to, unless they regularly fight it off with anti-brass toners, shampoos or whatevers.

Urgh. This adds to the complication.

I too like how my natural hair color (now faded to charcoal  / gray / and some whites)  looks against my skin. After all, nature doesn't go wrong, artistically speaking.

That being said - it makes me look WAY older than where my face is currently.
I felt grannish and shall I put it... non-reproductive?  ๐Ÿ˜€

There was something so faded and "expired" about me with that natural grey hair color,  be it chromatically correct against my complexion. Never mind some stray hairs strands curled in an ugly, unruly way... very witchy.

This is when I went brown with highlights again (because I felt soft black would be too harsh now, at 45+).

But then the mismatch with my skin tone became a problem.
It sure was younger-looking than with gray hair - but now I was green in the face.
So I exchanged one problem for another.

You are correct that ET does NOT have olive skin.
She is the classic "pink/ashy undertones with black hair" - Snow-white type. Katy Perry type.

But IMHO, she doesn't look good at all with warm brown hair, despite not having the green nightmare I deal with.
Those pink undertones in her skin also beg for a cool color in her hair.  Nature knows what it does.
Note that in the vast majority of pictures (from very young to the day she died), ET almost ALWAYS sported a cool-toned/ash hair. Usually black or charcoal.

The picture above shows one of her rare warm brown moments.

On my side, I have actual olive skin.
And I mean the kind of olive where you can literally see the ashy-green undertone in just about any light.

Many people think they have olive skin just because they have color to their complextion and tan well.
That's not olive. It may be tan, golden or reddish - but not the classic olive skin.

These are probably the people you refer to who can indeed look excellent with warm tones against their skin.

But I challenge you to try some warm tones (browns, rusts, orange and warm blonds) on skin with visibly green undertones.
You'll get a Hulk Party going.    *ill* *ill* *ill* *ill* *ill*

Funnily enough, when my hair used to be almost jet black - that was the only time that the green undertone in my skin was no longer noticeable.
Complexion looked very light, almost procelain and sparkly against the jet black. 

My children now keep telling me how pretty I used to be with black hair and how they don't like the current brown / blond highlights and how this makes me look older and less pretty.
Pictures side by side can testify too. 

So now I am thinking to go back to darker with a completely cool /ash tone - but the challenge will be to avoid any color that is too pigmented.
I can't pull off a jet-black "Snow-white" at this age anymore.      ๐Ÿ™

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 7:24 am
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Since you mentioned a red shade for everyone...I wonder whether I could include some mahogany/almost purple-ish tones in the hair ...maybe as highlights or at the ends, for some dimension. Also cool-toned.
Those could counteract the green in my face! ๐Ÿ™‚

From all the human skin shades out there...I managed to get the green. So nice. 

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 7:28 am
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Again, using a green or blue toner will darken the hair as well as make it more ash. It will take your hair closer to a soft black/dark brown. Toning yellow can make the hair appear lighter, toning dark hair often makes it appear darker.

And about natural hair, my hair colour really doesn't suit me! Olive green is almost the only colour I can't wear and that's the colour my hair often looks! I'm definitely of the small club where nature isn't right ๐Ÿ™‚ I've got my dad's neutral but leaning towards cool skin tone with my almost my mum's black hair, only it's just not quite dark enough so it looks green and not great lol

Posted : January 4, 2019 9:05 am
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Thank you, Janine!

When you say blue and green - should that come from a toner or just shampoo?
If toner, where do you buy this kind of stuff?

Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2019 7:34 pm
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I think itโ€™s all in my first post ๐Ÿ™‚ but you want a direct dye, like la Richie Directions or special effects. I donโ€™t know what country youโ€™re in, so I canโ€™t give the easiest to access for sure. You then take a tiny amount and add it to conditioner. Wash your hair, put on the dye and conditioner mixture and leave it for 5 mine. Wash it off. If itโ€™s not enough, add a tiny bit more dye next time and maybe leave it for a bit longer. Eventually youโ€™ll find the right balance.

Check my first post to work out if you need blue or green, looks like blue probably, but itโ€™s not easy to tell.

Avoid getting it on your grey bits as much as you can. Itโ€™s unlikely to stick as it normally needs a bit of damage to help it stickand grey hair is very resistant to dye, but itโ€™s best if you try to avoid them.

Posted : January 4, 2019 11:10 pm
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